Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall
Contact: Craig Stevens Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Michael Dixon and Tina Mannering.
Declarations of personal interests, if any
Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting
Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this meeting. The following declarations were made:
Agenda Item 5 – Councillors Sonia Benbow-Jones, Councillor Beverley Parry-Jones and Robert Walsh – Personal – the Member has a library within their Ward.
Councillor Dana Davies – Personal – Parent of children attending a School mentioned in the report. The Councillors remained in the meeting taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.
Variation in Order of Agenda
AGREED – That Agenda Item 5 – Difficult Decisions 2019/20 be brought forward and taken at this time.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance
(Members declarations in relation to this item are set out in Minute 24 above)
The Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health and Safety and Governance submitted a report (HF/140/18s) asking Members to scrutinise the specific budget proposals for 2019/20.
The Lead Member presented the report and the following points were raised during the ensuing debate:
· Acknowledgement of the importance of the Library Service within communities and reassurance sought in relation to carrying out a full review of the Service.
· Suggestion that it was not expected there would be a reduction in opening hours in order to make the Service more sustainable.
· Clarification sought regarding the timeframe for carrying out a review of the Service. It was noted that a decision on the timing of a full review would be made in early 2019.
· Confirmation that the Library Service is the largest discretionary Service in terms of finance provided by the Council and the proposed review could realise a saving of 10% of the existing budget.
· Information requested regarding the monies owed for overdue book loans.
Transport to Church Schools
· Concern that whilst this was a discretionary service, a number of Members felt that parents should be given their choice of preferred School.
· Concern that if parents could not afford to pay for transportation to a faith school, the number of pupils at the School would diminish; this would then have an impact on other Schools which could become oversubscribed as children attended their nearest School. Consideration would therefore need to be given to the impact on all schools in terms of their future viability and the capacity of the schools.
· Clarification sought regarding the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure and how it linked to welsh medium education transport. Officers confirmed that the Measure stated “When deciding which schools are the nearest suitable schools for learners in the area, local authorities and Welsh Ministers have a duty under Section 10 of the Measure to promote access to education and training through the medium of Welsh”.
· Transport to Church Schools, like Welsh Medium Schools, was non-statutory.
· Clarification sought regarding how the proposals would impact on children living in village locations who attended Church Schools.
· Confirmation that any changes would be implemented over a staggered period.
· Concern that the Environment Department were making the proposed changes, but the impact would be on the Education Department.
· Importance of ensuring that all legal obligations in terms of providing transport were being met.
· Concern at the potential for possible legal challenges arising from any changes in provision.
· Suggestion that if a review were to be undertaken, it would provide the opportunity to look at different models of making home to school transport more sustainable.
Education Effectiveness - Residual Music Service
· Confirmation that the music provision was provided by the Wrexham Music Co-op who were in direct contact with Schools.
· Early indications showed that the Service was performing well and the Head of the Wrexham Music Co-operative had confirmed that she would be providing ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 November 2018
AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 November 2018 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Head Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/142/18s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.
Members considered the report and commented accordingly. The following matters were raised:
· Suggestion that the Youth Justice Service Education Enforcement report be deferred to February 2019.
· The January Meeting of the Committee will begin at 3.30 pm.
· Changes to report purpose and outcomes for Estyn and the Education Framework and Local Authority Education Services Improvement Planning Process reports for consideration at the January Meeting.
· Suggestion that a report on Support for Pupil Wellbeing be deferred to April 2019 as it was likely that relevant information would not be available in February when it was originally scheduled to be considered.
AGREED – That, subject to the aforementioned amendments, the work programme be agreed.